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Residents ‘at increased risk’ of skin cancer

PUBLISHED: 12:33 19 June 2014

The risk of getting skin cancer if you live in Devon could be double the national average, health chiefs are warning.

And latest figures reveal that of those diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of the disease, one in four do not survive beyond five years.

The campaign, from Public Health England, is the latest to launch under the Be Clear on Cancer banner.

There were over 800 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the region in 2012.

Professor Debra Lapthorne, centre director of the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset PHE Centre, said: “Statistics show that those living in the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset area are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer compared to the rest of England.

“The campaign message is clear, if you notice any unusual or persistent changes to your skin, you should visit your doctor.”

Of those diagnosed with melanoma four in five are over the age of 50, and only one in three know that people with lots of moles and freckles are more likely to get skin cancer.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Our rates of skin cancer are above the national average.

“Detecting it early can save lives, so we are asking people to tell their doctor if they notice any persistent or unusual changes to their skin.

“We are supporting this campaign as part of our work to increase people’s awareness of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and encourage them to follow up any concerns, and this will enhance the work we are also doing to encourage people to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays.”

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